The civil war flared up over long standing economic, political, and cultural differences that had been subtly dividing the country over a long period of time. The northern states had increasingly passed abolition laws. Their technical and industrial advancements allowed them to do so. While the south relied on slave labor to support their mainly agricultural economy. To the south Slavery was what they believed to be essential to their very survival.
During the mid-1800’s the north migrated from an agricultural economy. Industrialization bloomed and the need for slave labor also diminished. For the north many immigrants came from overseas a great deal coming from the potato famine that ravaged the Irish. Immigrants could be put to use as low wage workers in factories. Around this point in time the south had mostly become reliable on a one-crop type economy relying on majority cotton. Although the north did not rely as heavily on agriculture, they did purchase and process much of the cotton from the south. Along with Immigrants coming from countries that had long since abolished slavery that opened a path way to a society with a new mind set that resisted slavery. Media also played a part. The publication “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe although it was fictional it caused a divide. The north felt it educated them on the issues revolving around slavery while the south felt it painted them in a negative light and deemed the work slanderous.
Politically another long term division that was dividing the nation was the fight between state and federal rights. The U.S. Constitution created another divide in which certain states felt that they should have the right to refuse and nullify federal laws. Nullification failed and in the process it did bring in the thoughts of secession. The acquisition of new land also brought in a new wave of divisive conflicts. With new lands from the Louisiana Purchase, and among those gained from The Mexican War the US was expanding westward and with new states came a shift in power between the south and the north. A bid to create an equal balance between the free and slave states was proposed through the Missouri Compromise.
Through the Missouri Compromise, Missouri was accepted as a slave state while Maine was accepted as a free state. Any remaining territory would be divided accordingly between free and slave with no slave states being allowed passed north of latitude 36°30 ́. This compromise was successful but did fail to quell tensions between north and south. Once the Kansas-Nebraska act came into play the Missouri Compromise was repealed. Arguments pertaining where the railroad would run through compelled Illinois senator Stephan douglas to create the Kansas-Nebraska act. Senator douglas wanted the railroad to run through Chicago but knew that he would need southern support for it to happen to achieve this he split Nebraska into two states one now being Kansas. The act would allow the states to vote on whether they would be a free or slave state through popular sovereignty. This caused people from both sides to rush to Kansas in order to sway the vote. With both slides coming in many fights broke out and some were violent giving the name to these confrontations as “Bleeding Kansas” as the death tolls rose. Although despite it all Kansas eventually joined as a free state.
The causes of the civil war are deeply rooted in long drawn out confrontations. Abolitionists had become increasingly vocal. Including some violent and deadly slave rebellions. Politics grew increasingly dreary as the new presidential election grew near. Abraham Lincoln represented the new Republican party and in winning the presidency the south felt that lincon was in favor of norther interests in turn being against slavery. A month later South Carolina declared secession from the Union. President Buchanan did nothing to ease the secession in which 7 other states soon followed before Lincoln came into office. Failing to stop the secession of a single state which created a domino effect that was the gateway to the civil war. Once the south took over territories and had made up their mind preventing war was almost impossible.